Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Asante Africa Foundation - Educating & Feeding Children

©2007 Kim Giancaterino. All Rights Reserved.
Asante Africa Foundation

Asante is the Swahili Word for Thank You

Asante Africa Foundation
Mwalimu Anna Academy, Tanzania
In 2006 my friend Erna Grasz started an organization called Asante Africa Foundation to provide education for children in remote villages in Kenya and Tanzania. The villages were encountered for the first time when Erna and her husband Mark traveled to East Africa for a vacation.

They were inspired by new Tanzanian friends, Emmy Moshi and Dennis Lyamuya, who used profits from their successful tourism businesses to build schools in remote areas of East Africa.

When Erna and Mark returned to the United States, they formulated a plan to join Emmy and Dennis in making education a reality for East African kids. Asante Africa Foundation was born. My husband and I mailed Erna a check for $100 and received a grateful response along these lines:

Thank you for your donation. Your gift will be used to provide porridge to 100 nursery school students for one month.

Porridge? Not books or school uniforms? Apparently there was much I needed to learn about educating children in East Africa.

In most parts of Kenya and Tanzania, the day often begins with a cup of uji, or porridge. Uji is the Swahili name for classic African millet porridge, a critical staple food in many parts of the world.

Students of all ages perform better and learn more when a simple, hot meal is provided during the school day.

Erna Grasz
We learned that providing schools, desks and books is only helpful if the children's basic needs are met with clean water and food at least once a day. So we piped water to one school, with another in progress. We are also funding porridge for children in the mornings to ease their hunger so they are ready to learn.

Mwalimu Anna Academy, Tanzania Primary School
Asante Africa Foundation

Water Pipes Transform an African Village

Asante Africa Foundation
Kigongoni Primary School, Mto wa Mbu
Erna’s heart is so big that her first instinct must have been to drop parachute loads of supplies to the children of this remote village. But things don’t work that way in East Africa, and in its early days Asante Africa Foundation was gently guided by Emmy Moshi’s phrase: You are thinking like an American, not an African.

In the end, small steps achieved tremendous goals. A critical need in every village is potable water. In addition to its obvious role for drinking and bathing, water is used for making porridge and for watering crops and trees. In the village of Mto wa Mbu, the nearest water source was about two miles away. Young female students were routinely assigned the important task of fetching buckets of water.

Asante Africa Foundation achieved what the villagers could not—despite 15 years of trying. After enlisting the support of the village council, two watering stations were operational at the school in less than a week. This was in spite of vandals who stuffed pipes with plastic bags and tried to sabotage the project for inexplicable reasons.

Potable water is now readily available to students, the school kitchen, and parents who live in the village. This eases their daily struggle with food preparation, and time formerly spent retrieving water is now invested in education.

Emmy Moshi - Tanzania Partner
I'm hoping to gather a strong team here to make a big difference in this world, especially in my community, where putting a daily meal on the table is an issue. I want to enlighten African life by showing them the opportunities they have, so they can have a better life.

Don't Exchange Girls for Cows ... Give Them Education
See the Entire Give Girls Education Collection

Learn How to Make Nutritional Porridge
Asante Africa Foundation

Basic Uji Recipe
We love this basic recipe from All Things Kenyan. Simple porridge is known by many names, including ogi, akama, akamu, burukutu, mahewu, pap, and pito.

Here's What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 3/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups boiling water

  • Boil 3 cups of water in a small saucepan
  • In a small bowl, mix flours with 1 cup of water
  • When water comes to boil, gradually add the moistened flour mixture, then stir
  • Lower heat and continue to stir and cook for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add salt, sugar, margarine, butter, cinnamon, and bananas to taste

Uji can be served thinly as a breakfast meal, or thickly as an accompaniment to heavier fare, such as vegetable stews and curries. This recipe will create a thin porridge, with a consistency similar to that of gravy. You can adjust the ingredients to make it thicker.

Millet Flour and Corn Flour
Bob's Red Mill Offers a Wide Selection of Flour Products

Tanzanian Spicy Porridge
Miriam Rose Kinunda, Author Taste of Tanzania

Taste of Tanzania: Modern Swahili Recipes for the West
by Miriam R. Kinunda (Author, Illustrator, Photographer)

Miriam R. Kinunda
Tanzania, same as East Africa, has healthy recipes. And many of our recipes are simple to prepare. It is very easy nowadays for me to find ingredients in regular grocery stores.

East African Cuisine is Healthy and Delicious
Locally Available Fruits, Vegetables, Cereal Grains, Milk and Meat Products
Asante Africa Foundation

EcoZoom Versa Portable Wood Burning Camp Stove
Rocket Stoves are designed for maximum efficiency. They require just three small pieces of wood to create enough heat to cook up to 300 portions of nutritional porridge.

Learning to Grow Life-Sustaining Crops

Asante Africa Foundation
School Garden: Wheat, Beans, Maize
This mini-garden was discovered at one of Asante Africa Foundation's sponsored schools. In this tiny plot, students are learning to grow wheat, beans, and maize. Maize meal is a mainstay of the East African diet.

Maize is cultivated in many parts of Africa, and many lives depend on this vital food source. Adequate soil moisture at the time of silk emergence is critical to the success of a maize crop. Periodic droughts in Africa have resulted in failed crops—and in severe cases, widespread famine.

Maize Growing in Tanzania
Asante Africa Foundation

Don't Exchange Girls for Cows ... Give Them Education
Available in a Selection of Colors and Sizes for the Whole Family

Asante Africa Foundation

Asante Africa Foundation
Basic Uji Recipe by All Things Kenyan
Miriam R. Kinunda, Author, Taste of Tanzania
Miriam Rose Kinunda interview by Chicamod
Millet grain photograph by martingranel
Grain heart photograph by hugok38
Maize field photograph by aitoff

Learn More About Asante Africa Foundation
Asante Africa Foundation